The Futures Institute

Press & Op-Eds

How Chicago Is Tackling Police Violence and Mental Health at Once | Time
An op-ed by Raeghn Draper and Eric Reinhart
Rights Groups Launch Community Safety Agenda | Human Rights Watch (
“Over 60 civil and human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, released a Community Safety agenda for the United States federal government yesterday that champions evidence-based policies and investments aimed at addressing structural causes of violence and inequality.”
Want to Reduce Crime? Start with Funding Our Communities | Newsweek Opinion

“Amid a debate about how we can best achieve community safety, and reacting to concerns surrounding both public safety and police killings that have disproportionately devastated Black communities, many are alleging a tension between efforts that would tackle racial injustice and efforts that would potentially reduce violence.

The Infrastructure Law’s Untapped Potential for Promoting Community Safety | Joint Blog for Brookings
“In recent months, fears of violence have captured local and national headlines alike. While it is incorrect to say we are experiencing a “crime wave,” the desire to feel safe—and to actually be safe—when walking in your neighborhood, caring for your children, or driving to work each day is an issue that deserves our full focus and evidence-based policymaking.
To Keep People Safe, Congress Should Invest in What Communities Need | The Hill

“Over these last few months, some lawmakers have been clamoring to pass new “public safety” bills that would pour more resources into police departments nationwide. These lawmakers point to crime rates and fears that violence is increasing. At almost no point, though, have we heard anyone ask a basic question: If our goal is to keep families and communities safe, will these investments work? And what do communities actually want?

Podcasts & Videos

“Don’t Let Anyone Take Your Narrative And Twist It” | The Roundtable: A Next Generation Politics Podcast

 Hailing from the vibrant city of Chicago, Reagan’s journey is a testament to the power of narrative, both written and lived, in igniting movements and catalyzing change.

Invest in Community Safety Invest in Saving Lives Press Conference

Watch the Community Safety press conference.

New Report Dives Into the Current Retail Theft Crackdown, Offers Policy Solutions to Empower Retailers: NPR

An interview with WABE on retail theft fact and fiction.

We'll Say Mission Accomplished When We Have a World in Which Every Kid Can Just Be a Kid: The Round Table, a Next Generation Podcast

“At this week’s Round Table, Hannah, Inyoo, Jack, and Kenisha spoke with Thea Sebastian, Director of Policy for Civil Rights Corps, as well as the founding Director of the Futures Institute. In her role, Thea oversees a wide range of initiatives that include policy changes related both to advancing community safety and building cradle-to-career youth opportunity. One of her current projects involves building a cross-disciplinary Futures Agenda, which aims to be a Green New Deal for youth.

Vision for Justice: Reimagining Public Safety | Pod For The Cause

“On the finale of the Vision for Justice miniseries, our guest host, Monifa Bandele, Movement for Black Lives Leadership Team, reimagines public safety with Thea Sebastian, Director of Policy, Civil Rights Corps, Alphonso David, President of Human Rights Campaign, and Eunisses Hernandez, Executive Director and Co-founder of La Defensa..

Exploring the Deep Connection Between Housing and Safety | Opportunity Starts at Home Podcast

“In this episode, we talk to Thea Sebastian, Director of Policy at Civil Rights Corps, and Sam Washington, Policy Associate at Civil Rights Corps. Sebastian and Washington explore the deep connections between affordable housing and safety for individuals and families and discuss why Civil Rights Corps joined the OSAH campaign’s Roundtable and participated in the campaign’s recent sign-on letter supporting the campaign’s housing priorities. They also examine the ways safety, racial equity, and housing are connected and share additional resources for learning about housing and safety.

Advocacy Teach-In for The People’s Response Act | Teach-In Recording

This teach-in, held on July 22, 2021, spotlights the introduction of The People’s Response Act—a ground-breaking bill that would create a new paradigm for resourcing evidence-based community safety nationwide. The panel discusses the need for this legislation, as well as the evidence on prevention-oriented safety.

Non-Carceral First Responders | Panel for the Statehouse Futures Summit

This panel discusses how states can promote community safety by using non-carcera first responders who replace police officers when the underlying crisis is connected to mental or behavioral health. Panelists include Thea Sebastian, Policy Director, Civil Rights Corps; Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, 1st Hampshire District, Massachusetts House of Representatives; and Sen. Robert Peters — Illinois State Senate.

Public Health People's Response Act | Teach-In Recording

A teach-in on the public health aspects of the People’s Response Act

Art & Poetry

Take Me to Paradise: A Poem for the 2021 People’s Response Act | A Poem By Faylita Hicks

Take me to Paradise
Where I always shine
Where the light is mine

Take me to Paradise
At the tip of the mountain
Let my light climb….

Paradise: Where I am, first, a person. Second, a dream— the wildest one of my ancestors—and I’m thriving.

Paradise: Where I am recognized as someone who is loved before I am recognized as someone’s lesson to be learned.

Declaration of Liberation | An Art For Justice event with Faylita Hicks

Artists and policy advocates working together for shared safety